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6 NBA things to know for Feb. 7

Some key storylines and NBA tidbits to know for the day ahead

Jeff Case, NBA.com

1. Pacers try (again) to cool off Raptors

If at first you don’t succeed, try to play that team again. While that’s not exactly how the old adage goes, the Pacers are glad to have another crack at the Toronto Raptors (8 ET, ESPN) after Indiana blew an 11-point lead with 3 minutes, 50 seconds to play on Wednesday. The Raptors won’t be going away easy, though. Not with them sporting a franchise-record 12-game win streak and All-Star forward Pascal Siakam rolling during that stretch (21.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.3 spg during the win streak).

2. No Iguodala (or Butler) just yet, Miami

The Miami Heat made one of the biggest trade splashes before Thursday’s deadline, picking up Andre Iguodala from Memphis in a three-team trade. Unfortunately, neither he nor his All-Star teammate, Jimmy Butler, will suit up tonight in Sacramento (10 ET, League Pass) as the Kings get their first look at their new additions (Jabari Parker and Alex Len), too. The Heat are expected to be at full strength Sunday against the Trail Blazers, but for tonight, All-Star Bam Adebayo and Co. will do a lot of the heavy lifting against the Kings.

3. A change in the middle for Detroit

For the first time since Oct. 31, 2012, the Pistons will not have center Andre Drummond on the court. He was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday as Detroit is fully starting a reset of itself for a new era. The initial look at what that might be comes tonight in Oklahoma City (8 ET, League Pass) as youngsters like Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown, Svi Mykhailiuk, Luke Kennard, Christian Wood and others will get more playing time in various roles. While Detroit is just 4 1/2 games out of No. 8 in the East as of this writing, the rest of this season is about next season now.

4. New bigs land in Atlanta

Clint Capela, welcome aboard. Dewayne Dedmon, welcome back. The Celtics will be the first foe to get a glimpse of the Hawks’ revamped center rotation (7:30 ET, League Pass) and it should be interesting to see how All-Star guard Trae Young benefits from it. Departed center Alex Len received 8.5% of Young’s passes and took 73.9% of his shots from less than 10 feet. In Houston, Capela received passes from Russell Westbrook 13.4% of the time and from James Harden 13.5% of the time. In either case, Capela finished his shots within 10 feet of the rim around 99.2% of the time. All that to say: watch for lots and lots of alley-oops and rim runs from Capela.

5. Will Sixers ever get on track?

Philadelphia was fairly quiet at the trade deadline, adding two guards to its mix (Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III) while parting with a rotation player (James Ennis). The new faces didn’t play in last night’s blowout loss to the Bucks, which marked the Sixers fourth straight loss. “Inside The NBA” analyst Charles Barkley called the Sixers “the Cleveland Browns of the NBA” after their loss and, it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s wrong in Philly. The good news for Philadelphia is it is back home tonight. The bad news is it is playing the surging Memphis Grizzlies (7 ET, League Pass), who seem to be invigorated by their part in the Iguodala trade.

6. Skidding Jazz try to right ship

Few teams are more of a current representation of how quickly things can change in the NBA than Utah. On Jan. 25, they scored a thrilling home win against the Dallas Mavericks, giving the Jazz 14 wins in their last 15 games. Since then? They’ve lost five in a row (although only one of those was a blowout). Utah hosts the Blazers next (10:30 ET, ESPN) as part of a four-game, pre-All-Star break stretch that includes the Rockets (Feb. 9), Mavs (Feb. 10) and Heat (Feb. 12). A win tonight could get Utah headed in the right direction before the All-Star break.

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